Designer tricks for the porch and patio
Architects and interiors specialists share their secret sources, strategies for clever styling, organizing tips, and other home updates you can do yourself.
Lay down a base Going outside doesn't mean leaving defined, designed spaces behind. Marblehead designer Molly Frey recommends repeating some of the color and flair of your interior with an outdoor rug (she likes the 5-by-8-foot Mad Mats rugs sold at Comina). Comina, 39 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead, 781-631-2558, and other locations; http://comina.com
Get crafty HGTV.com's Taniya Nayak once made a beautiful mosaic patio table. She bought 15 4-inch bathroom tiles in coordinating colors, wrapped them in a towel, and gave a few whacks with a hammer. Using a wooden coffee table as her base, she glued the pieces into a pattern with Liquid Nails, then, once the glue was dry, grouted between the tiles.
State your style Bring design to the bottom of your driveway with mailbox numbers that match your home's style, says Foxborough's Stephanie Rossi. She likes the selection of contemporary numbers at Home Depot in Waltham. Home Depot, 100 1st Avenue, Waltham, 781-672-0900, and other locations; http://homedepot.com
Branch out Stephanie Rossi frames her front door with fallen birch limbs arranged in matching planters. (They're simply anchored in the dirt in her planters, which in summer hold ferns and in winter, greenery.) To create the framing effect, she uses branches that are more than 10 feet high.
Go rustic Designer Melinda Cabanilla suggests creating a chandelier by using several pieces of driftwood and aluminum wire to hold the pieces together, adding string lights, then hanging it with twine.
Make it match An umbrella in a bold color can quickly transform an outdoor space, says interior architect Lisa Foster. Just remember to complement your home's exterior color. For example, greens look great with oranges, she says. Tie in whatever color you choose with more than one element, so if you add an orange umbrella, find cushions to match.
Click for less If you're planning to re-cover cushions, Melinda Cabanilla says to look online for deals on indoor-outdoor fabric. "I bought 9 yards for $36 at http://fabricguru.com," she says. The fabric was sold as flawed, but wasn't noticeably so. The site also sells remnants in top condition.
Improvise a table A piece of rectangular glass set atop a large planter makes an outdoorsy side table, says Looc boutique owner Audra Boyle.
Play games Hang your outdoor game items -- such as mallets and balls from a croquet set or a pair of oars -- on the side of a shed or pool house, designer Linda Merrill of Chameleon Interiors in Duxbury suggests. She says go with "anything that fits your own style and interests and will age well."
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